The average supermarket carries nearly 40,000 items, according to the Food Marketing Institute. And as you meander around the store, food companies have utilized consumer psychology hacks to draw your attention to mouthwatering snacks. No wonder shopping for healthy lunch ideas for work is a fraught experience. However, researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found that preparing home-cooked meals in place of eating out results in consuming fewer carbohydrates and sugars. Bringing a homemade lunch can help you stay focused while avoiding a sugar crash and it can help you reach your weight-loss goals.
However, it can be hard to find the time for meal prep during the week for most people: When the prospect of making lunch seems too cumbersome, ordering food from your phone is the easiest path to take. To make the most of packing healthy lunches, here is a list of tips that can help streamline the process:
Before you hit the supermarket
The advice on how often to go shopping is split: Some people suggest going once per week to avoid impulse purchasing of snacks during the week. However, it’s hard to buy fruits and vegetables in bulk and use them before they spoil. Find what works best for you. Before you step into a supermarket, make a shopping list. With a list in hand, you’ll be less likely to walk down as many aisles, which can cause you to spend more as you snag extra items and toss them into your cart. In addition, you can avoid buying repeat purchases that you don’t really need, like another jar of peanut butter.
It’s also helpful to eat before going grocery shopping for lunch ingredients. There’s nothing worse than being shaky from low blood sugar or too few calories as you wander up and down the aisles. You’ll be shopping with your stomach, which could potentially end in bags full of high-calorie snacks because they’re what your body felt it needed in the moment.
When you get home
You know the feeling: You come home with a bag full of groceries – only to realize that you have no idea what to make for lunch the next day. Step into the kitchen and start experimenting: Combine chopped rotisserie chicken with baby tomatoes and romaine lettuce for a quick salad for a healthy work lunch. Or dice red peppers, carrots and onions for the base of a stir fry. There are no right or wrong answers in the kitchen -that’s what makes cooking so much fun. To make meals for several lunches, whip up big batches of chili or pasta and meatballs. You can top them with different ingredients for variety.
Making a large batch of chili will provide meals for the week.
Store it right
An important part of meal prep is saving your food in containers that keeps it fresh. Consumers throw out 25 percent of the food they buy per year – and part of the reason may be due to improper storage, noted a report from the National Resources Defense Council. Fit & Fresh containers will help keep your food cold and crisp when you it bring into the office. In addition, Fit & Fresh containers offer portion control, which can help you reach your weight-loss goals.
With these tips and your Fit & Fresh containers, you’ll be able to eat well all year long.